Reduction and the determination of phenomenal character

Philosophical Psychology 24 (3):291-316 (2011)
A central task of philosophy of mind in recent decades has been to come up with a comprehensive account of the mind that is consistent with materialism. To this end, philosophers have offered useful reductive accounts of mentality in terms that are ultimately explainable by neurobiology. Although these accounts have been useful for explaining some psychological states, one feature?phenomenality or consciousness?has proven to be particularly intractable. The Higher-Order Thought theory (HOT) has been offered as one reductive theory of consciousness. According to HOT, a mental state is conscious if it becomes the content of a suitable higher-order thought that one is in that mental state. In recent years, critics have lodged a series of challenging objections to the view and several alternative theories have been proposed in response to these objections. This paper offers a defense of the traditional Higher-Order Thought theory. First, two different models of consciousness based on HOT are distinguished. The paper argues that one of the models is better supported by the HOT literature. It is then demonstrated that the better supported model is not vulnerable to the objections most commonly lodged against the HOT theory. Finally, it is shown that alternative self-representational theories do not improve upon the HOT theory in the way that they are proposed to. In fact, each of the alternative self-representational views reviewed here is vulnerable to a unique set of problems. In light of these factors, HOT still offers a viable reductive solution to the hard problem
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09515089.2011.556608
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,209
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Thomas Nagel (1974). What is It Like to Be a Bat? Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
Ned Block (1995). On a Confusion About a Function of Consciousness. Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.

View all 24 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Joshua Shepherd (2013). Why Block Can't Stand the HOT. Journal of Consciousness Studies 20 (3-4):183-195.
David Miguel Gray (2012). HOT: Keeping Up Appearances? Southwest Philosophy Review 28 (1):155-163.
Rocco J. Gennaro (2008). Are There Pure Conscious Events? In Chandana Chakrabarti & Gordon Haist (eds.), Revisiting Mysticism. Cambridge Scholars Press 100--120.
David Miguel Gray (2012). Hot. Southwest Philosophy Review 28 (1):155-163.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

79 ( #59,943 of 1,941,049 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

8 ( #115,122 of 1,941,049 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.